Benetti 180

The new 180-footer from Benetti is a build you won't soon forget.

Aboard the nearly completed 180-foot Amnesia, with another Amnesia (a 164-foot Benetti Golden Bay model) floating nearby, the question was just too obvious. No, I was told, the owner hadn't forgotten he already had a yacht; he just wanted more room. The name comes not from a medical malady, but from the yacht's ability to clear the owner's mind, to allow him to leave everything behind and live only in the present moment as he sets to sea.

Using experience gained from the smaller Amnesia and his previous yachts, the owner was deeply involved in the development of the yacht's design. From the initial concept and layout, to the choice of woods, fabrics and accessories, much comes from the earlier yachts, but changes were made to accommodate both the owner and charter guests, as well as to ensure the boat is compliant with the MCA charter code.

Charter operation was anticipated from the beginning, but that did not prevent the owner from personalizing the yacht. On my second visit aboard in Monaco a few months later, I was able to see the completed Amnesia in all her glory. There is a great deal of Lalique crystal aboard, including flat panels, sculpture and lighting fixtures. While some pieces were executed just for the yacht, much of it was existing work that came from the owner's private collection. The delicacy of the crystal is offset by the ruggedness of the custom cast-iron tables on which some of it is displayed. Cherry, radica and alcantara woods are used extensively in the bulkhead paneling and furnishings.

From the moment you enter Amnesia, the thought put into her is obvious. At the starboard foyer are two sets of double doors. The outer set is heavily constructed aluminum and is fully watertight, not just weathertight, as is often the case. Closed for safety at sea, these doors remain open in port, allowing guests to navigate the lighter, more attractive and more easily handled wooden doors as they enter the yacht from the wide side deck.

From the foyer, guests can descend a flight of steps to the four guest cabins. Two are fitted with queen berths and have tubs in the heads. The other two are fitted with twin berths and have showers. All guest staterooms are quite large, partly due to Amnesia's size and partly due to her arrangement-the VIP suite is located on the upper deck rather than below. Adding to the feeling of spaciousness in the guest cabins are large oval ports, oriented vertically so they offer a fantastic view of both the sea and the scenery ashore.

The central portion of the upper deck is dedicated to the VIP suite, which has a queen berth and an en suite head. The forward end of the deck carries the pilothouse, the captain's cabin and the ship's office. The after end has a spacious, full-beam skylounge and an open deck with dining facilities for all 12 guests.

This deck also carries a simple but innovative "why didn't I think of that touch I expect to see on yachts in the future". At the extreme after end, on centerline, set into the bulwark between the seating, is a small observation platform I'll call a "pushpit", for lack of a better term, although it doesn't really extend past the deck's edge. At anchor or at a stern-to Med mooring, it's a great vantage point from which to take in the scenery astern and to either side, and in a spot like Monaco, there's plenty to see. It's a small area and a simple concept, but it is bound to be a popular spot for guests.

Also popular will be the top deck, which is devoted to guest relaxation and entertainment. The area under the mast is a glass-enclosed gymnasium, which is air-conditioned for comfort. Forward of the gym is a bar, a sunpad of 150 square feet and a large custom pool with hydromassage capability. To either side of the sunpad are passageways allowing access to forward-facing observation seating, and a row of "spritzers" can be activated for a quick misting cool-down. The after end of the deck was lined with lounge chairs during my visit, but it can be reconfigured for large parties or other gatherings.

As nice as the guest areas are, they pale in comparison to the owner's suite, forward on the main deck. The sleeping quarters occupy the full beam, with extended hull-contouring windows to either side that bring in lots of light, making the already spacious cabin seem huge. The windows, measuring about 2 by 6 feet each, are laminated in three layers of glass and were tested to ensure they would withstand wave impacts. There are his-and-her baths, completely separate and each with its own tub. Standing at the center of these three spaces is an entertainment center with a retractable flat-screen television.

An owner's office serves as an anteroom between the sleeping quarters and the main foyer. The real stunner, though, is the observation room a few steps up from the sleeping quarters. Elevated and located at the extreme forward end of the deckhouse, this oval space is nearly surrounded by vertical glass windows and outfitted with a curved settee, where the owners can enjoy the world as they wish-in privacy or with family and special guests.

Amnesia's true soul, however, is in the things that aren't apparent, many of them incorporated to enhance the charter experience. Her arrangement includes traffic patterns that will keep crew and guests out of one another's way, yet still allow easy movement. Separate stair towers, a belowdecks service passageway, and dumbwaiters that serve all five decks are just a few of the features. The fifth deck is below the guest and crew quarters. It includes a lower crew area with an extra cabin, dry and refrigerated stores, laundry and a direct passageway between the engineroom and crew spaces.

Safety and comfort are other areas where Amnesia shines. The yacht is MCA-compliant, so she includes such items as a dedicated rescue boat, fire-division and watertight doors, a water-fog fire-suppression system, and an emergency generator, forward in the bosun's locker. Of course, such features are not much good if they aren't working, so Amnesia's pilothouse outfitting includes an alarm and monitoring panel that constantly shows the status of these systems plus the navigation lights.

A big part of comfort aboard a yacht is in the minimization of noise and vibration. In Amnesia's engineroom are substantial mufflers and underwater exhausts. The engines are mounted separately from the reduction gears, connected with flexible couplings and carried by soft mounts. Many of the bulkheads throughout the yacht, seen under construction during my first visit, are 3 inches thick with a nine-layer design: a central layer of plywood, two layers of rubber isolation sheets and outer panels that include two wood veneer faces bonded to a core of thousands of tiny molded-polymer "coil springs".

Working with Benetti and with the owner from the beginning, project manager Neil Cheston of Camper & Nicholsons International (also the charter agency) made sure that Amnesia's main purpose was not lost among the other details. Enjoyment remains central to her mission, as evidenced by her abundance of outdoor spaces and by her equipment list. The big toys are a 30-foot Intrepid center-console tender and a 22-foot Novurania RIB, but she also carries two Waverunners, a Hobie Cat, two kayaks, two Laser dinghies, eight sets of dive gear, a floating trampoline, and assorted skiing, wakeboarding and fishing equipment.

Contact: Benetti, (011) 39 0584 3821; info@benettiyachts.it; www.benettiyachts.it. Camper & Nicholsons, (011) 33 4 9704 1050; www.cnconnect.com. For more information, contact: (866) 922-4877